Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Monday, July 16, 2018

CLE on 30 Steps to Perfect Probate

The National Business Institute is holding a conference entitled, 30 Steps to Perfect Probate, on Thursday, October 11, 2018 - Friday, October 12, 2018, at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Jacksonville Baymeadows in Jacksonville, Florida. Provided below is a description of the event:

Program Description

Gain Valuable Strategies for Every Step of the Probate Process

Are you confident you're taking advantage of every strategic opportunity the probate process has to offer? Experienced faculty will share their insights into maximizing the benefits of each step at this essential program. With a special focus on strategic decision-making to minimize tax burdens, speed up the process and alleviate conflict; this guide to probate is just what you need to take your practice to the next level. Register today!

  • Spend two full days learning how to strategically navigate the probate process.
  • Shore up your knowledge with a tactical guide to probate inventory - and leave no stone unturned.
  • Get tips from the pros on how to tackle creditor claims and troubleshoot debt repayment.
  • Minimize tax burdens for both the decedent and the beneficiaries with a full guide to timely and prudent tax planning and reporting.
  • Maximize the use of exceptions when handling Medicaid estate recovery.
  • Hone your final disbursements skills to prevent disputes and re-openings.
  • Use probate litigation to its fullest advantage.

Who Should Attend

This two-day, intermediate level seminar is designed for:

  • Attorneys
  • Accountants/CPAs
  • Trust Officers/Administrators/Managers
  • Tax Professionals

Course Content

  1. Probate Process Overview and First Steps
  2. Executor Strategies
  3. Will Admission Techniques
  4. Inventory, Appraisement and Management Tactics
  5. Creditor Claims: Tips From the Pros
  6. Medicaid Estate Recovery Insights
  7. Insolvent Estate Tips and Tricks
  8. Tax Minimization Tactics
  9. Final Accounting Secrets
  10. Distributions: Insights From the Pros
  11. Estate Closing Strategies
  12. Legal Ethics
  13. Probate Litigation Tactics

Continuing Education Credit

Continuing Legal Education – CLE: 14.50 *

International Association for Continuing Education Training – IACET: 1.20

National Association of State Boards of Accountancy – CPE for Accountants/NASBA: 14.00 *

* denotes specialty credits

July 16, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax, Income Tax, Intestate Succession, Professional Responsibility, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 22, 2018

CLE on Probate and Trust Litigation

CLE
The National Business Institute is holding a conference entitled, Probate and Trust Litigation, on Tuesday, June 26, 2018, at the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta, Georgia. Provided below is a description of the event:

Program Description

Real-World Insights for Both Estate Litigators and Planners

Fiduciary problems, family dynamics, creditor issues, unclear estate plans . . . disputes can arise from many areas of trusts and estates. Do you know how to prevent fights, settle them efficiently or move a case through court when litigation is unavoidable? Our seasoned faculty will provide you with practical instruction and tips on handling common controversies. From will contests to fiduciary litigation and more, don't miss this opportunity to build your skills - register today!

  • Learn how to handle will contests and trust fights, interpretation issues and reformations.
  • Uncover the mechanics of proving or disproving undue influence/lack of capacity.
  • Find out when and how to remove a fiduciary.
  • Explore how to resolve disputes with accountings - or prevent them from happening in the first place.
  • Discover effective ways to settle disputes to avoid costly and protracted litigation.
  • Get a refresher on litigation procedures and rules you need to know.
  • Define who your client is to avoid conflicts of interest and other problems.

Who Should Attend

This intermediate level seminar is designed for attorneys. Accountants and paralegals may also benefit.

Course Content

  1. Wills and Trusts: Contesting, Interpreting, Reforming
  2. Testamentary Capacity and Undue Influence in Litigation
  3. Handling Claims Against Fiduciaries
  4. Disputing Accountings, Distributions and Creditor Claims
  5. Settlement Tips
  6. Navigating Court Rules, Processes and Procedures
  7. Applying Legal Ethics Rules and Guidelines

Continuing Education Credit

Continuing Legal Education – CLE: 6.00 *

National Association of State Boards of Accountancy – CPE for Accountants/NASBA: 7.00 *

* denotes specialty credits

June 22, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Professional Responsibility, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Lawyer Stole $328,000 from Clients and Firm According to the FBI

FBIAnother estate planning attorney from New York has been arrested last week for allegedly stealing money from clients, but this time also from the firm that he was employed at. Albert Hessberg III, 63, worked at the firm of Barclay Damon from 1981 until he was fired this past March. "The FBI and federal prosecutors in Albany are still investigating Hessberg's alleged thefts that could be in the range of $1 million to $3 million." Hessberg is being charged with mail and wire fraud, and faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.

Hessberg was the executor for a client only referred to as "A.R." who left an estate of $550,000 when he died in 2007. The assets were to be left in a trust to the client's wife, "C.R.," and then trusts to benefit the couple's children and grandchildren. When "C.R." passed away in 2010, she also had an estate of about $314,000. The FBI claims that there is no evidence that Hessberg ever set up trusts for the couple's children or grandchildren. Hessberg even emailed one of the beneficiaries and claimed, "that distributing the assets was complicated and he needed more time."

See Robert Gavin, Feds: Lawyer Stole $328,000 from Clients, Firm, Times Union, June 14, 2018.

June 21, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases, Professional Responsibility, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 18, 2018

Albany Attorney Admits to Stealing from Elderly Clients in $11.8 Million Estate Fraud

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-06-18/49b0d7c2-9794-46c1-a045-ee9732c86791.pngRichard J Sherwood, 58, pled guilty last week to money laundering and tax crimes stemming from a scheme to steal millions from estates of elderly clients that he was serving as attorney and fiduciary. Between Sherwood and his co-conspirator they stole a total of $11.8 million from an elderly couple, the wife's sister, and a client from Ohio that suffered from dementia.

Sherwood had been a practicing attorney in New York since 1988, primarily in the field of trusts and estates. He became the attorney for the couple of Warren and Pauline Bruggeman in 2006, as well as Pauline's sister Anne Urban, all of Niskayuna, New York. They all signed will directing the majority of their assets to be transferred to charities upon their deaths.

"Warren Bruggeman died in April 2009, and Pauline died in August 2011. At the time of her death, Pauline had personal and trust assets valued at approximately $20 million." Anne Urban passed away not long after in 2013. The conspirarcy also included the grabbing of funds from Julia Rentz, a resident of Ohio, who was suffering from dementia at the time of the thefts and died in 2013 as well.

Sherwood faces up to 20 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to 3 years of post-imprisonment supervised release. He also served as Guilderland Town Justice from 2014 until his arrest on February 23, 2018. He resigned his position on March 5.

See Albany Attorney Admits to Stealing from Elderly Clients in $11.8 Million Estate Fraud, US. Attorney's Office, Northern District of New York, June 11, 2018.

Special thanks to Joel C. Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.

June 18, 2018 in Current Events, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Professional Responsibility, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 1, 2018

Woman Accused of Cheating Trustees, Spending Their Money on Vegas Gambling Trip

GamblingLoretta Darlene Stewart-Cabrera, 52, a professional fiduciary who served as a trustee for a trust that owned a Sacramento property, was indicted on 8 counts on April 26, 2018 after prosecutors say that she schemed against the beneficiaries after the trust grantor died to sell off the property for $300,000 and only gave the trustees $30,000. The charges include mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering because of the alleged transaction. The alleged $270,000 that the fiduciary retained from the trust proceeds was spent on debts, paying family members, buying merchandise, and a trip to Las Vegas, Nevada.

Stewart-Cabrera faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted of mail fraud and wire fraud counts. She faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the value of the property if convicted of the money laundering counts.

See Kayla Fitzgerald, Woman Accused of Cheating Trustees, Spending Their Money on Vegas Gambling Trip, Sacramento Bee, May 30, 2018.

Special thanks to Joel C. Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.

June 1, 2018 in Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases, Professional Responsibility, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

CLE on Firearms in Estate Planning and Administration

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-05-22/178b0cbd-6350-41b4-91f7-d00b51131f25.pngThe National Business Institute is holding a conference entitled, Firearms in Estate Planning and Administration, which will take place Thursday, August 23, 2018 at the Norris Conference Centers - Fort Worth/Sundance Square in Fort Worth, Texas. Provided below is a description of the event:

Program Description

Legally Compliant Transfer of Firearms: Rules, Estate Planning Tools and Potential Pitfalls

Firearms in estate planning need extra attention to make sure you, your client and the beneficiaries inheriting the firearms are abiding by the intricate nuances of firearm law, especially after all the recent legislative and administrative changes. With the myriad of changing rules and regulations, if a firearm is transferred improperly or to an improper transferee, fines and jail time are a real possibility. Get a clear view of the gun rights, requirements and restrictions that impact your clients and your practice. This program will cover types of firearms, improper transfers and legal ownership of firearms. It will also offer an objective legal analysis of the use of inter-vivos and testamentary transfers and trusts that will allow your clients to successfully and legally transfer these unique assets to their intended beneficiaries. Register today!

  • Get an update on the latest laws, regulations, rulings and trends affecting gun ownership.
  • Distinguish between the different types of legal and restricted firearms.
  • Cover all your bases: can your client and beneficiaries legally own a firearm?
  • Review a sample gun trust to ensure airtight protections.
  • Review key forms, permits and background check procedures for gun transfers.
  • Choose the best estate planning instrument to transfer guns to beneficiaries in specific cases.
  • Confidently handle thorny interstate transfer issues.

Who Should Attend

This basic level seminar is designed for:

  • Attorneys
  • Accountants and CPAs
  • Trust Administrators and Officers
  • Tax Professionals
  • Paralegals

Course Content

  1. Gun Laws and Firearms Designations
  2. Transfers of Firearms: Key Rules and Tools
  3. Gun Trusts: Drafting and Administration
  4. Firearms Forms
  5. Legal Ethics
  6. Firearms in Estate Administration

Continuing Education Credit

Continuing Legal Education – CLE: 6.75 *

International Association for Continuing Education Training – IACET: 0.70

National Association of State Boards of Accountancy – CPE for Accountants/NASBA: 8.00 *

* denotes specialty credits

May 22, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Professional Responsibility, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

CLE on Brewery and Distillery Law in Tennessee

0000000 CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a conference entitled, Brewery and Distillery Law in Tennessee, which will take place on Friday, May 04, 2018 at the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville, TN. Provided below is a description of the event:

Program Description

Your Ultimate Guide

The brewing and distilling industries are rapidly growing, but complex state and federal regulations are ever-present obstacles to startups and established businesses alike. This legal program will teach you how to help your clients build a solid business; minimize liability; and navigate the licensing, labeling and tax reporting challenges along the way. You will also learn how to effectively protect your client's intellectual property, avoid legal landmines in advertising and receive valuable tips for negotiating distribution agreements. Enhance your understanding of this unique area of law - register today!

  • Advise your client on business entity selection, insurance, financing and more.
  • Effectively navigate licensing and label approval procedures.
  • Confidently advise your clients on state and federal regulations and tax reporting requirements.
  • Receive beneficial advice for drafting an array of contracts ranging from distributor agreements to equipment leases.
  • Ensure clients design substantially-compliant advertisements.
  • Understand the nuances of protecting the intellectual property of breweries and distilleries.
  • Anticipate and learn how to appropriately manage the different ethical situations that can arise.

Who Should Attend

This basic-to-intermediate level program is designed for:

  • Attorneys
  • Accountants
  • Tax Preparers
  • Brewery Owners/Operators
  • Bankers/Loan Officers
  • Paralegals

Course Content

  1. Walking the Ethical Line
  2. Brewery and Distillery Business Entity Selection, Formation, Finance and Insurance
  3. Licensing, Labeling and Regulatory Compliance
  4. Federal and State Tax Reporting Requirements
  5. Negotiating/Drafting Brewery and Distillery Contracts
  6. Intellectual Property and Advertising

Continuing Education Credit

Continuing Legal Education – CLE: 6.00 *

National Association of State Boards of Accountancy – CPE for Accountants/NASBA: 7.00 *

April 25, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Planning - Generally, Professional Responsibility | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 23, 2018

Article on Fiduciary Principles in Trust Law

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-04-23/2429f222-b8ad-4638-add7-7129f32712c4.pngRobert H. Sitkoff published an Article entitled, Fiduciary Principles in Trust Law, Wills, Trusts, & Estates Law eJournal (2018). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

This book chapter, prepared for the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Fiduciary Law, canvasses the fiduciary principles applicable to a trustee of a donative, irrevocable private trust subject. The focus is on prevailing American law. The chapter examines (a) the trigger for finding a trust fiduciary relationship and the scope of that relationship; (b) the duty of loyalty; (c) the duty of prudence across the distribution, investment, custodial, and administrative functions of trusteeship; (d) other fiduciary duties in trust law, including the prominent duty of impartiality and the increasingly salient duty to give information to the beneficiaries; (e) the extent to which fiduciary principles in trust law are mandatory or may be waived by the settlor or by a beneficiary; and (f) the remedies available for a breach of duty by a trustee.

April 23, 2018 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Professional Responsibility, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 16, 2018

Article on Proliferation of Hidden Income and Tax Evasion: Perceptions of Malaysian Professionals

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-04-16/aaaaa1b3-b10d-4243-9f8d-a78a30a84750.pngJeyapalan Kasipillai, Mei Yee Lee, & Sakthi Mahenthiran published an Article entitled, Proliferation of Hidden Income and Tax Evasion: Perceptions of Malaysian Professionals, Tax Law: Tax Law & Policy eJournal (2018). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

This study employs a qualitative approach to investigate the perceptions of professionals regarding tax evasion and avoidance in the informal sectors in Malaysia. We estimate tax evasion due to hidden income in Malaysia approximates MYR 44.97 billion (A$ 13.87 billion), around 5.4 per cent of gross domestic product in 2014. We used a survey to seek insights on hidden income from respondents who are experts in the fields of accounting and taxation, including senior government officers and tax professionals. The findings of the survey reveal that the three main sectors perceived to be engaged in ‘hidden income’ are, in ranking order: (i) petty trade; (ii) logging and timber; and (iii) money lending and pawn-broking. Our interviews with the respondents also reveal additional informal sectors involved in these activities, including human trafficking, bribing of enforcement agencies and illegal logging. This study assists to identify tax compliance gaps among the different sectors of the economy and provides information on sectors that require greater tax auditing. This will, in turn, furnish input to policy makers to develop strategies in encouraging voluntary compliance as well as enhancing the effectiveness of the existing tax and bureaucratic systems.

April 16, 2018 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Professional Responsibility | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 13, 2018

Article on Best Interests in the Long Term: Fiduciary Duties and ESG Integration

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-04-13/12a1baaa-1566-4e6f-b909-1c8b372cb48c.pngSusan N. Gary published an Article entitled, Best Interests in the Long Term: Fiduciary Duties and ESG Integration, Wills, Trusts, & Estates Law eJournal (2018). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

Two persistent misconceptions continue to affect the way fiduciaries think about sustainable investing: (1) fiduciary duties block a fiduciary investor from considering environmental and social factors and (2) if a fiduciary investor engages in sustainable or responsible investing, the portfolio will suffer financially. An examination of socially responsible investing, ESG integration (an investment process that involves consideration of material environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors together with traditional financial metrics), corporate social responsibility, and impact investing, shows that neither of these assumptions is correct. Analyses of different forms of sustainable investing have found no necessary cost to a portfolio when sustainable funds are compared with traditional funds. The SEC already requires companies to report material information, and reporting standards developed by the Sustainable Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) are improving the understanding of the financial materiality of ESG factors.

Given the changes in finance, fiduciary duties also require examination. The duty to act as a prudent investor is of central importance, and the available data explains why a prudent investor should consider ESG information. Moreover, since the duty of impartiality protects future beneficiaries, that duty requires a long-term investment time horizon, increasing the need to take ESG factors into consideration. It follows that a prudent fiduciary investor not only may, but should, use ESG information in developing financial policy and decisions.

April 13, 2018 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Professional Responsibility | Permalink | Comments (0)